SECTION TWO of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link took a step forward last week as 12 organisations were invited by Union Railways (North) to tender for tunnelling contracts worth £600M.
The five contracts include 20km of tunnels - over half the total length of the section that will extend the CTRL from Section 1 in north Kent, under the Thames and through east London into St Pancras station.
The contracts - C220, C230, C240, C250 and C320 - are part of a total of 24 packages that make up Section 2. Many of these packages are utility and diversion contracts, some of which are already under way as part of the £277M of preparatory works.
The biggest contract not yet out to tender is Contract 310, between Ripple Lane Dagenham and Thurrock. This 7km stretch will pass over marshland on a viaduct supported on a piled slab foundation.
Union Railways (North) expects to award the contracts early next year. Each contract includes a pre-construction period of up to six months, before work on site begins in mid-2001. The entire CTRL is expected to be complete by December 2006.